Santa will get relief when he flies into Basalt Friday |

Santa will get relief when he flies into Basalt Friday

Santa Claus will be pleased to find plenty of helpers when he pulls into Basalt Friday night.

Well over 100 kids from needy families in the midvalley will get toys this Christmas thanks to the generosity of numerous individuals and organizations.

The Basalt Recreation Department mounted a toy drive for the second straight year and, like last year, attracted a wealth of contributions from the public, according to Nick Alcorta, department director. The drive was started last year at the suggestion of his wife, Debbie.

What made the effort really special this season was Alpine Bank’s contribution of more than $1,000 worth of new toys.

“Somebody got a really cool assignment to go to Toys R’ Us on a shopping spree,” said Alcorta.

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The results of that spree are stacked on the Town Council members’ desks in the council chambers of Town Hall. It’s a kid’s dream come true in there right now, with balls and bats, dolls, games and stuffed animals.

Tony Thompson, president of Alpine Bank of Basalt, said the charitable effort wasn’t made for publicity. Indeed, he was somewhat reluctant to talk to a reporter about it.

“We’d like to be Santa Claus and be relatively low key about it,” said Thompson.

He explained that the bank staff decided to spend the money that would have gone to gifts for customers on a charitable cause instead. They became aware of the toy drive and wanted to participate in a community effort that benefited local kids.

Volunteers are also helping with the wrapping of all those presents. Basalt resident Joan Remsbecker and some local senior citizens were looking for ways to help their town, heard about the toy drive and arranged to come by later this week to take care of the wrapping, according to Town Hall staffers.

Town Hall is taking on the appearance of Santa’s workshop with scores of wrapped presents contributed by the public spilling out into the lobby. Each present has a tag that says whether the toy is best suited for a boy or girl and of what age.

Workers at the Basalt Family Resource Center and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Basalt will match the gifts with kids from families who could use a little holiday cheer, according to Alcorta. Families will be selected from Old Snowmass to El Jebel.

To top if off, Basalt Police Chief Jim Stryker and his staff will take on the role of jolly old St. Nick and his helpers by delivering the presents to the kids’ homes on Christmas Eve.

Alcorta said about 100 presents were distributed through the program last year. The participation by the public and Alpine Bank will boost the number even higher this year.

“Obviously it’s turned into more than we anticipated,” said Alcorta.

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